The crisis triggered by COVID-19 is challenging the very meaning of coexistence and cohabitation and redesigning the boundaries of public space in an absolutely unprecedented way, with unpredictable results.
Biagio Quattrocchi, Vanessa Bilancetti , Francesco Silvi
23 January 2019
Rome’s municipality has accumulated enormous debt, creating an emergency used to close any sort of public space, both physical and discussion. The narrative regarding the debt has been used to attack what we call the city of solidarity – groups, associations, and occupied places that are working to build community as opposed to accumulating profit.
On 9 October 2017, the Turin City Council turned back privatisation and took another step towards the remunicipalisation of its metropolitan water system. And so the city entered the next phase of its long march towards water sovereignty, begun in the aftermath of the Second World War on the ruins of a town half-destroyed by allied bombing and by Nazi/Fascist retaliations against the democratic popular resistance.
Italy took a first step toward legalization of pot, leading Europe in what would be a groundbreaking change. The Intergrupo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale, a cross-party committee, agreed on a provisional text to legalize the consumption, growing, production and sale of cannabis under certain conditions. The text was signed by 218 members of parliament, and not just by the usual suspects. The proposal would allow growing cannabis at home or as members of "cannabis clubs" where a maximum of 50 people could cultivate and then share the product, with a strict prohibition on selling to the general public. (See also: Bill would legalize marijuana)
Italy wants its army to grow cheap marijuana from next year in a bid to discourage medicinal users from funding illegal street dealers. A high-security military compound lab is earmarked for growing cannabis for the national healthcare system despite criticism from leading political and religious figures. Since the medical use of marijuana was legalised last year, the government have been on the hunt to keep costs down as few people could afford to sign up for the pharmacy scheme. (See also: To grow cheap marijuana, Italy calls in the army)
In February, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that most of the 2006 drug law norms were unconstitutional. Following this pronouncement, at the end of May, the Court of Cassation decided that people sentenced and incarcerated under the illegitimate norms have the right to be resentenced. The decision may affect about 10.000 prisoners detained for cannabis crimes.
A new decree that overhauls Italy's drugs laws paves the way for releasing "thousands of convicted smalltime drug dealers from prison". The move follows parliamentary approval of a decree earlier this month that overhauls Italy's drugs laws and reclassifies marijuana as a soft rather than a hard narcotic. The new law also effectively removes jail time as a sentence for smalltime dealers, offering community service and other options in its place. (See also: Council of Europe lauds Italian moves on prison overcrowding)
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said he was in favour of decriminalizing cannabis, calling for a national and international reform on drug laws in order to fight organized crime. said he was “in favour of the possibility of the liberalization of cannabis for medical or personal use.” He was speaking at the Eighth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy in Rome. Beyond the capital he also advocated broader reform of drug laws both in Italy and abroad. (See also: Italy relaxes cannabis penalties)
On February 12, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Fini-Giovanardi law setting out penalties related to the sale and possession of illegal drugs, was improperly approved, and abrogated the law. Since then, Italy has returned to previous regulations that imposed lighter sanctions on cannabis users. Prisoners' rights organisations argued that harsh drug laws have created a booming prison population in a system that is already overcrowded. Since January 2013, Italy's prisons have been under the scrutiny of the European Court of Human Rights.
Turin's city council has approved a motion in favour of making the drug legal for therapeutic purposes, making it the first of Italy's large cities to do so. The proposal is an appeal to the Italian parliament that they "move from a prohibitionist structure to one where soft drugs, particularly cannabis, are legally produced and distributed". This means that while the vote doesn't make it legal to consume, buy or sell cannabis for individual use yet, it paves the way for a more tolerant view of the drug in the eyes of the law.
This working paper and infographic provide an overview of a great ‘fire sale’ of public services and national assets across Europe that is providing profits for a few transnational companies but is often fiercely opposed by its citizens.
Why are those responsible for the EU crisis profiting from it? Why are the same policies that caused the crisis being used to resolve it? An infographic expose of the EU crisis, its causes and its social impacts.